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3 9999 06544 670 8 
l J ublic Document 

No. 142 


Q[^e (Entmtumuiralth of fHasaarhuitfttB 







Publication of this Document Approved by the Commission on Administration and Finance. 
300— 8-'39. No. 7912. 

Ehp Cnmmmiinraith of Jflassacbusetis 

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives in General Court 

The Division of Metropolitan Planning herewith respectfully submits 
its annual report for the year ending November 30, 1938: 

Last year, this Division, in its annual report, recommended a long-term 
program of highway and parkway projects to be carried out over a six- 
year period. This long-term planning was not undertaken to encourage 
excessive public works expenditures but was done for the purpose of guid- 
ing normal investment in highways to achieve better and much needed 
transportation services. 

We considered the following points in presenting this program: 

1. Every project should serve a definite social need. 

2. Projects should be economically sound (their costs proportionate 
to their benefits). 

3. Projects should be in agreement and coordinate with city, regional 
and state plans and should be an integral part of a comprehensive plan. 

4. Projects should be considered in relation to other needed public 
improvements to insure a program of balanced expenditures- 

5. Projects should be undertaken when material prices are low and 
when labor is plentiful. 

6. Projects should be constructed in such order that the greatest 
benefit may be obtained as quickly as possible; that is, in order of their 
greatest urgency. 

It is still the opinion of the Division that the time has come to begin 
to carry out an orderly and progressive program of highway and park- 
way improvements in the Metropolitan District, and we are again pre- 
senting in our recommendations a total of nineteen projects which we 
believe will materially improve the traffic situation whenever funds are 
available to carry out their construction. 

The following is a list of recommended projects : 

The Circumferential Highways. 

1. It was evident from the beginning of the Division's studies that 
a main Circumferential Highway on approximately a ten-mile radius was 
needed. Such a highway is now partially completed and heavily traveled. 
This route, known as Route No. 128, now extends from Hingham on the 
south, northerly and westerly as far as the Worcester Turnpike near the 
Wellesley-Newton line. It should be extended from its easterly terminus 
north-easterly through Hingham to the present highway leading to Nan- 
tasket. At its westerly terminus it should be extended northerly and 
easterly to the Newburyport Turnpike in Lynnfield. Such a route will 
intersect substantially all of the main highways leading into the city and 
greatly assist the traffic both of the district and the State. 

2. A part of the Circumferential Highway southerly of the Blue 
Hills is a parkway, and therefore not used for commercial traffic. For 
this reason there is need of a commercial route or by-pass passing through 
Randolph southerly of Route No. 128 and of the Blue Hills Reservation. 
When constructed it will become a part of Circumferential No. 128. 



3. An Inner Circumferential route that is much needed is the so- 
called MiltonQuincy Highway, an east and west all-purpose highway ex- 
tending from Reedsdale Road in Milton to the new Fore River bridge in 
Quincy It will by-pass much of the South Shore traffic around Quincy, 
and will enable it to select less congested routes into Boston. 

Radial Highways. 

4. The so-called Watertown-Newton-Waltham Highway, extending 
from Galen Street, Watertown, to Weston Street, Waltham. This route 
was first designed as a parkway. Further study shows that it should be 
built as an all-purpose route. 

5. The new Concord Highway now terminates at the Alewife Brook 
Parkway in Cambridge. It should be extended easterly to a point near 
Porter Square, where a number of routes are available for access to 
Boston. The Concord Highway is really the gateway to the Mohawk Trail, 
and is daily becoming a more important and more traveled route. 

6. The Department of Public Works plans, in co-operation with the 
State of Connecticut, to construct a new highway leading from New York 
to Boston. It will enter the district in Walpole and when completed should 
shorten the running time between New York and Boston by an hour, at 
the same time carrying traffic through a non-congested section of both 
States. The Division recommends the construction of the portion of this 
route lying in the district. 

7. The American Legion Highway should be extended from its pre- 
sent terminus at Cummins Highway southwesterly to Washington Street 
at or near its intersection with the West Roxbury Parkway. This inter- 
section was part of the original project, and the money now invested in 
the American Legion Highway will be of little use until the extension 
is made. 

8. A new highway is required which will follow in part the old Mid- 
dlesex Turnpike and leave the Concord Highway in the town of Lexington 
and go in a general northerly direction to a point near Lowell, where 
connections may be made to the main highways to the Merrimack Valley. 
Part of this route lies in the district and is recommended. 

9. A fine highway has now been constructed from the Newburyport 
Turnpike to Day Square in East Boston. It should be extended along the 
general route of Bremen Street, or some other suitable street, to the 
entrance of the Sumner Tunnel. 

10. A very necessary improvement is the widening of Dorchester 
Avenue from Old Colony Avenue to Fort Point Channel. This is now 
a bottleneck for the heavy traffic that enters Boston by the Old Colony 
Parkway. We note with satisfaction that the city of Boston has repaved 
this section of Dorchester Avenue, but the avenue is far too narrow to 
carry its traffic, and should be widened as soon as funds are available. 

11. A bridge across the Charles River at Gerry's Landing is recom- 
mended. This would connect the parkways on the north and south sides 
of the river and permit the heavy parkway traffic now using the Alewife 
Brook Parkway and Fresh Pond Parkway to enter Boston without pass- 
ing through Harvard Square or without using the crowded Lars Anderson 

12. An extension of Memorial Drive on the Cambridge side of the 
Charles River to Arsenal Street in Watertown is recommended. This will 
complete the parkway system along the northerly side of the Charles 
River from the Dam to Watertown. 

Circles and Grade Separations. 

13. At the intersection of the Northern Artery and Prison Point Via- 
duct, at the Cambridge end of the Charles River Dam, a traffic circle. 

14. At the intersection of the Northern Artery and Washington Street 
in Somerville, an overpass. 

15. At the intersection of Washington Street and Boylston Street 
(Worcester Turnpike) in Brookline Village, an underpass. 

16. At the intersection of Washington Street and Arborway in Forest 
Hills in Boston, an underpass.- 

17. At the intersection of Park Drive, Riverway and Boylston Street 
in Boston, a traffic circle. 

18. At the intersection of Commonwealth Avenue and Cottage Farm 
bridge in Boston, an overpass. 

19. At the intersection of the Revere Beach Parkway with Broadway 
and Main Street in Everett, a by-pass. 

The following table lists the above-mentioned projects, gives their esti- 
mated costs, and indicates the classification to which they belong. Those 
which are listed as highway projects should, in our judgment, be paid for 
entirely from the Highway Fund. Those listed as parkway and city pro- 
jects should be paid for with at least 50 per cent from the Highway Fund. 

Highway Construction Projects. 
To be Built by the Department of Public Works. 








Circumferential Highway 

Commercial by-pass south of the Blue 

Inner Circumferential or Milton-Quincy 
Highway ...... 

Watertown-Newton-Waltham Highway . 

Easterly extension of Concord Highway 

Portion in district of New York High- 
way ....... 

Extension of American Legion High- 
way to Washington Street . 

Extension of Middlesex Turnpike . 

Extension of Turnpike from Day Square 
to East Boston Tunnel 

Dorchester Avenue widening . 

Circle at intersection of Northern Artery 
and Prison Point Viaduct . 

Grade separation at intersection of Nor- 
thern Artery and Washington Street 
Somerville ..... 

Grade separation at intersection of Wash- 
ington Street and Boylston Street 
Brookline Village 










Parkway Projects. 
To be Built by Metropolitan District Commission. 

11. Gerry's Landing bridge and connections $400,000 

12. Memorial Drive extension to Arsenal 

Street 275,000 

19. Grade separations and traffic circles, 
Revere Beach Parkway, Broadway and 
Main Street, Everett .... 600,000 


City Projects. 
To be Built by the City of Boston. 

16. Grade separation, Arborway and Wash- 

ington Street, Forest Hills, Boston . $500,000 

17. Traffic circle, Boylston Street, Park Drive 

and Riverway, Boston .... 250,000 

18. Grade separation, Commonwealth Avenue 

and Cottage Farm bridge, Boston . 500,000 


Grand total $18,100,000 

The Division recommends an annual appropriation which, together 
with any funds received from the Federal government, shall approximate 
$3,000,000 each year for a period of six years, the money to be expended 
each year by the Department of Public Works and/or the Metropolitan 
District Commission, and/or the city of Boston. 

An additional radial route into Boston, to relieve the already heavily 
congested Old Colony Parkway and the Forest Hills-Jamaicaway routes, 
'and to facilitate the direct entrance to the heart of the city of traffic 
from points in the district and State south of Boston, is needed. From 
Mattapan northerly Blue Hill Avenue heads directly toward the business 
center of the city, and as far as Grove Hall, near Franklin Park, its width 
is 120 feet. Northerly of Grove Hall the Blue Hill Avenue-Hampden 
Street direct route narrows to widths varying from 60 feet to as little 
as 45 feet as far as Massachusetts Avenue, and it is wholly unsuited for 
arterial traffic. It would be desirable to construct a connection from the 
wide portion of Blue Hill Avenue at Grove Hall to the junction of Massa- 
chusetts Avenue and Albany Street. This project would cost several 
million dollars, and is not included because of doubt as to the apportion- 
ment of its cost. Albany Street, from Massachusetts Avenue to Broad- 
way, is 80 feet in width, and should serve for some time as part of this 
radial route from the south. 

From Albany Street, at Broadway, a connection is needed around the 
congested downtown business district to the newly widened Cross Street 
at or near its intersection with Clinton Street in order to connect with 
the Sumner Tunnel and points north and east. 

Last year this problem was studied by a special commission, of which 
General Edward L. Logan was chairman. It recommended an elevated 
highway from the intersection of Albany Street and Broadway over the 
tracks of the Boston & Albany yards to the southerly end of Atlantic 

Avenue, and thence using the elevated structure on Atlantic Avenue and 
Commercial Street to a point on Commercial Street near the Charles- 
town bridge. The report was referred to the next General Court, partly 
because of a doubt as to whether the Boston Elevated Railway desired 
to abandon this section of its elevated system, and partly because of a 
conflict of views as to whether the elevated structure should be removed 
or should be used as a highway. We are thoroughly convinced that the 
experience of New York and other large cities proves that an elevated 
highway is the most feasible means of carrying heavy traffic around con- 
gested areas, and the logical route for such a highway in Boston is obvi- 
ously, in part, the route chosen by the special commission. However, the 
Division of Metropolitan Planning feels that the terminus of the elevated 
roadway should be at a point in Cross Street near the Sumner Tunnel 
entrance, and not at the Charlestown bridge. 

Our studies of the problem indicate that the most satisfactory method 
of supplying this much-needed circumferential elevated highway is to 
remove the entire elevated structure comprising the Atlantic Avenue loop, 
including the structures on Castle Street, Harrison Avenue, Beach Street, 
Atlantic Avenue and Commercial Street, and to construct a new elevated 
highway which shall begin, as suggested by the special commission of 
last year, at or near the intersection of Broadway and Albany Street, 
thence proceeding across the yards of the Boston & Albany Railroad and 
along Atlantic Avenue to a point near Clinton Street, where connection 
would be made through a widened Clinton Street to Cross Street. How- 
ever, if Cross Street should be extended southerly from its present term- 
inus, at Clinton Street, across State Street to Fort Hill Square, the 
elevated highway might leave Atlantic Avenue in the vicinity of Broad 
Street and follow Cross Street to the tunnel, thus eliminating entirely 
any elevated structure in that portion of Atlantic Avenue where traffic 
congestion is most serious. Possibly this roadway could be supported 
on a single post structure built in the middle of Atlantic Avenue, thus 
removing the present objectionable posts which interfere with traffic and 
substituting for them a line of central supports which would properly 
divide the traffic moving in different directions. Since the special com- 
mission's report was made a year ago, the Elevated Railway has aban- 
doned train service on Atlantic Avenue, and we should hope that the 
company would now be willing to convey the structure to the city of 
Boston for a nominal consideration. We are now making a more careful 
study of the entire problem. 

When the city of Boston can afford to do so, it would be most desirable 
to widen Rutherford Avenue from City Square, Charlestown, to Sullivan 
Square. This is one of the main arteries into Boston. We have not in- 
cluded it in our program because it is very distinctly a city project. 

We have laid out a comprehensive six-year program because of our 
belief that the need not only of the motorist but of the businessman of 
the Metropolitan District requires a real solution of the highway prob- 
lem. Such a solution can be reached only by building, step by step, suc- 
cessive links in a well-considered long-range program. The Federal 
government has recognized the need of long-range, advance planning of 
public works by the passage of the Employment Stabilization Act of 1931. 
An important feature of this act is the requirement that Federal depart- 
ments and other agencies having charge of construction shall "prepare 
a six-year advance plan with estimates showing projects allotted to each 
year," with the further provision that the six-year program be kept up 

to date by annual revision and extension. We believe that the application 
of this principle to the highway problems of the Metropolitan District 
will result in wiser and more economical expenditure of public moneys, 
and at the same time speed relief from traffic congestion. 

There may be objection to the expenditure of $3,000,000 for the con- 
struction of projects within the Metropolitan District. The answer is 
that fully 50 per cent of the automobiles of the State are registered from 
the Metropolitan District, and that more than 50 per cent of the gasoline 
is purchased within that district. When the outstanding highway bond 
issues are paid for, and when it is no longer necessary to allocate so large 
a portion of the Highway Fund for general purposes, there should be 
available for construction purposes at least $10,000,000, and to appro- 
priate less than one third of that sum for projects in a district that pays 
in half of the fund does not seem to this Division to be excessive. 

The recommendations herein contained are the results of factual studies 
by the Division, and are presented for adoption by the General Court at 
such times and under such conditions as, in the exercise of legislative 
discretion, may appear desirable and necessary. 

Rapid Transit. 

The Huntington Avenue Subway now under construction from Copley 
Square to a point west of Gainsborough Street is about one-third com- 
pleted. In our 1936 and 1937 reports we commented upon this improve- 
ment. The total length of this subway extension, upon completion, will 
be approximately 4200 feet. 

On May 10, 1938, the Special Commission which was authorized by 
Chapter 73 of the Resolves of 1937 to investigate the Boston, Revere Beach 
& Lynn Railroad situation filed its report. This Division was glad to 
assist the Commisson by furnishing plans and engineering and operating 
data. Although no solution of the railroad's problems has as yet been 
arrived at, the Division has continued its interest in the hope that some 
satisfactory result eventually may be obtained. 

Status Of Highways And Parkways In The Metropolitan District 
Projects Completed Or Under Construction. 

Reconstruction of the Newburyport Turnpike from Felton Street in 
Saugus to a point in Lynnfield near the Peabody line was completed in 

An overpass of full cloverleaf design has been completed at the inter- 
section of Route 128 and Andover Street in Peabody. This new highway 
is soon to be extended as far as the Beverly line. 

The new double-barrelled highway along the southerly shore of the 
Neponset River from Blue Hill Avenue in Milton westerly through the 
southern part of the Hyde Park district has been completed almost to 
the Milton line. This is a well-built and very attractive highway but it 
will be of little value until it is extended westerly to the Providence High- 
way and the Circumferential Highway. It will eventually tie in with the 
proposed freeway to New York when that major artery is constructed. 

The overpass carrying the Riverway over Huntington Avenue near the 
Boston-Brookline line was- opened May 27, 1938, after the completion of 
the reconstruction of the southerly approach. 


A new traffic circle has been completed by the Boston Park Department 
at the intersection of Morton Street and the Franklin Park entrance, 
just east of Forest Hills. 

The grade separation at South Braintree was opened to traffic July 27, 

The reconstruction of Warren Bridge between Boston and Charlestown 
has been completed. 

Atlantic Avenue in Boston is being repaved. 

Some improvements have been made in Blue Hill Avenue near Matta- 
pan Square. 

The underpass carrying Commonwealth Avenue under Massachusetts 
Avenue was opened to traffic January 27, 1938. 

A traffic circle at the intersection of Centre Street and the West Rox- 
bury Parkway is under construction. 

Work has been started on the Old Colony Parkway to by-pass Columbia 

Work has begun at the Cambridge end of the Cottage Farm Bridge 
where a circle for rotary traffic and an overpass to carry the traffic of 
Memorial Drive over the intersection are under construction. 

Changes In Personnel. 

On March 24, 1938, Mr. Daniel P. McGillicuddy succeeded Mr. John F. 
McDonald as the representative of the Boston Transit Department on the 

On October 5, 1938, The Governor appointed Mr. James D. Henderson 
as Chairman of the Board and, the terms of the two other Governor's 
appointees having expired, he reappointed Mr. Frederic H. Fay for an- 
other term and appointed Mr. Frederick J. Mahoney to succeed Mr. 
Wilson Marsh. 

On October 13, 1938, General Hale was appointed Director of the new 
Division of Waterways of the Department of Public Works. On October 
19, 1938, Mr. Paul C. Ryan was designated to succeed him on this Board 
as the representative of the Department of Public Works. 

General Hale has been a member of this Board since its creation in 
1923. In fact, he is the only commissioner who has served all these years. 
He was a very valuable member because of his many years of experience 
in highway matters, and his advice and assistance were always very 

Special Studies. 

A great deal of thought and effort has been given to the Atlantic 
Avenue situation in Boston, including the traffic in the downtown area, 
removal of the old elevated structure, and the need for an elevated via- 
duct to facilitate movement of vehicles from the south to the Sumner 
Tunnel and other northern gateways. 

A Special Commission, which was authorized by Chapter 22 of the 
Resolves of 1937 to investigate relative to the removal of the Atlantic 

Avenue elevated structure, filed its report, H1775, on March 16, 1938. 
This Division cooperated with the Commission by furnishing engineering 
data and plans for its use. 

The Blue Hill Avenue extension into Boston, sometimes called the Blue 
Hill Radial Highway, has been studied as there is no question as to the 
need for an adequate route into Boston from the south. 

Some study and research has been given to the subject of parking 
meters. This parking problem is daily growing more serious, not only 
in Boston, but in every city and town in the District and some solution 
must eventually be found and put into operation if our street traffic is 
to be able to move with any efficiency. 

Many other studies have been made as the necessity has arisen for 
traffic relief. Many difficult intersections have been studied and many 
requests have been received from various cities and towns for assistance 
in solving their local problems. 

Rapid transit studies or reviews of previous investigations have been 
requested by those interested in solving their transportation problems. 

The maps have been brought up to date and the statistical data that 
has been in such demand is being revised to be correct as of January 1, 

A traffic map has been prepared on which are indicated not only the 
numbered highway routes but also every intersection designated where 
traffic lights, overpasses, underpasses, or traffic circles have been erected 
or constructed. 

A land use map has been prepared, showing in color all open spaces 
with use and ownership designated. These maps have attracted a great 
deal of interest and are on display at the office of the Division. 


The rising curves of registration of motor vehicles and gasoline con- 
sumption were arrested in 1938, when there was a 6 per cent reduction 
in registration; although there was only a 7/10 of 1 per cent reduction 
in gasoline consumption. The number of drivers' licenses, however, con- 
tinued to increase. Here are the figures : 

State Motor Vehicle Registrations, Calendar Years. 

1937 1938 

Pleasure vehicles 954,762 892,936 

Commercial vehicles 119,167 115,841 

Buses 4,917 4,738 

Motorcycles 1,169 765 

1,080,015 1,014,280 

Trailers 11,311 13,122 

1,091,326 1,027,402 

Total Drivers' Licenses 1,178,934 1,195,315 


State Gasoline Consumption 
Calendar Year 1938 

Taxable Gallons 


January . ... 43,195,198 








April . 






June . 



July . 












November . 







Total receipts from Gasoline Tax .... 



There were 622 motor deaths in the State in 1938, or 159 less than in 
1937. This is a decrease of 20.3% and is at the rate of iy% deaths per 
100,000,000 miles of driving. 


Appropriation and Expenditures 
Fiscal Year Ending November 30, 1938 

Appropriation $19,900.00 

Expenditures 19,896.52 

Balance reverted $ 3.48 

Financial Statement Verified. 

Geo. E. Murphy, 


Respectfully submitted, 

James D. Henderson, Chairman 
Frederic H. Fay, Vice Chairman 
Frederick J. Mahony, 
Richard K. Hale 
Richard D. Grant 
William F. Rogers 
Daniel P. McGillicuddy, 

Henry I. Harriman, Director.